Himachal Pradesh slammed for delay in juvenile justice

Shimla: A rights organisation has slammed Himachal Pradesh for allegedly denying the juveniles access to justice with a huge pendency of cases before the juvenile boards (JJBs) and shortage of special homes for the child offenders in the state.

“The state has only one observation-cum-special home in Una district. It was found during the visit that there were 10 juveniles and they were required to be regularly brought before the JJBs in various districts,” said New Delhi-based Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its report.

It said the “situation worsens when the JJB chairperson is absent and the hearing is postponed.”

“Astonishingly, the officials of the observation home are required to arrange funds from their own pockets for the appearance of the juveniles before the JJBs. The travel funds allocated for the observation home have been reduced from Rs.44,000 during 2010-11 to Rs.20,600 during 2011-12,” it said in the report dated Oct 16.

The ACHR said the pendency before the JJBs was quite high. “There were 162 cases pending before the JJB in Kangra district as of January 2012, 110 cases before the JJB in Una district as of December 2011 and 89 cases before JJB in Shimla district as of November 2011.”

The rights centre citing data of the National Crime Records Bureau of the ministry of home affairs says the hill state registered 159 cases of juvenile delinquency under the Indian Penal Code in 2010; 127 cases in 2009; 122 cases in 2008; and 118 cases in 2007.

In addition, under the special and local laws, nine cases were registered against juveniles in 2010, eight cases in 2009, and one case in 2008 and none in 2007, it says.

The ACHR has asked the state to establish observation and special homes in all 12 districts, and conduct social auditing to monitor and evaluate the functioning of the children homes.

–IANS

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